George Robinson Dean (1864-1919), Architect

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Minneapolis, Minnesota 1886-1889; Omaha, Nebraska 1890-1891; Boston, Massachusetts 1989-1891; Chicago, Illinois 1893-1919

George Robinson Dean was born on August 11, 1864 in Satara (Mumbai), India, the fifth child of Reverend Samuel Chase and Augusta Abbot Dean’s eight offspring.[1:61][3:7][7][12] He attended Doane College Preparatory Academy in Crete, Nebraska and graduated from Doane College in 1885.[1:61][8][9][10][11][16][17] In 1886, George Dean moved to Minneapolis to work in the office of W.C. Whitney, Architect for three years.[1] He then went to Boston to work for the firm of Shepley, Rutan, & Coolidge, Architects. He also studied architecture in 1892-1893 in Paris, France, in the atelier of Henri Duray.[1:61][7] He was president of the Chicago Architectural Club in 1895.[6]

During the late 1890s, George Dean and his brother Arthur were members of The Eighteen, a mealtime club and extension of Steinway Hall, a group of Chicago architects including Frank Lloyd Wright.[1:30][c][d] George and his brother Arthur formed their own firm in 1903, called Dean & Dean, Architects, which Arthur continued for decades after George’s death.[1][14] George married Emily L. Washburn on October 22, 1903.[6][15] He died December 10, 1919.[5][3:7][6][7][12][15][22]

DoaneCollege Whitin D&D 109 1w.jpg
Whiten Library (1894) (Dean College Archives)

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Nebraska Directory Listings

Omaha, Nebraska, 1891

Educational & Professional Associations

ca. 1880-1882: preparatory student, Doane College Preparatory Academy, Crete, Nebraska.[1:61][8][19][23:121][a]

1882-1885: college student, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[1:61][8][19][23:121]

1885: graduate, Bachelor’s degree, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[1:61][8][19][23:121][18][19]

1886-1889: apprentice, William Ellery Channing Whitney, Architect, Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1:61][4:5]

1889-1890: architect, Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts.[1:61][4:4-5]

1890-1891: draughtsman, Isaac Hodgson, Jr., Architect, Omaha, Nebraska.[4:5]

1892-1893: studies in the atelier of Paris, France architect Henri Duray, Architect, as well as study travels in Europe.[1:61][4:5]

1893-1895: architect, Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, Architects, Chicago, Illinois.[1:61][4:5][7]

1895-1896: president, Chicago Architectural Sketch Club, Chicago, Illinois.[1:61]

ca. 1897-ca. 1899: member of The Eighteen, a mealtime club and extension of the Steinway Hall group of Chicago architects that included Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago, Illinois.[1:30][c][e]

1900: listed in the Chicago city directory as George R. Dean, Architect, Chicago, Illinois.[b]

1902: catalogue editor, Chicago Architectural Club, Chicago, Illinois.[1:37]

1903-1919: partner with brother Arthur Dean in their firm Dean & Dean, Architects, Chicago, Illinois.[4:6][7]

Nebraska Buildings & Projects

Whiten Library (1894), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[20][21:65][d] (SA01-010)

See Dean & Dean, Architects for more of George's work, designed after forming a partnership with his brother.

Writings & Visual Arts

George R. Dean, “A New Movement in Architecture,” Brush & Pencil Vol. 5 (March 1900).

George R. Dean, “Progress before Precedent,” The Brickbuilder Vol. 9:4 (April 1900): 91-92.


a. In 1879, George was enrolled at Doane College as a preparatory student along with siblings, Carrie, a senior, and preps Walter and Frank.[8:121]

b. Neither of the Deans were listed in 1880, 1885, or 1892 Chicago directories.[13]

c. Brooks does not give specific dates here; instead, he says the mealtime gatherings happened in the “late eighteen-nineties,” and lasted "several years." [1:31]

d. After Doane College had a campaign for funds for a new library, the Chicago firm of Dean & Dean donated the Renaissance Revival plans for the Whiten Library to their alma mater.[21]

e. Steinway Hall was the name of a Chicago building and, as a result, the moniker of the group of associated architects who worked, congregated, and many of whom lived in the building.[1:29-30] Those architects, at various points in time, included Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry Webster Tomlinson, Irving K. Pond, Allen Bartlit Pond, Walter Burley Griffen, Adamo Boari, Birch Burdette Long, and at least several more.[1:30] George and Arthur Dean were involved in an eighteen-member subgroup of Steinway Hall called The Eighteen. As explained by Harold Allen Brooks in The Prairie School, "As it was impracticable for all kindred souls to join the group at Steinway Hall, a mealtime club was formed which lasted for several years." Brooks then quotes Frank Lloyd Wright, who described The Eighteen in the following way: "Before long a little luncheon club formed, comprised of myself, Bob Spencer, Gamble Rogers, Hardy and Cady, Dick Schmidt, Hugh Garden, Dean, Perkins, and Shaw, several others; eighteen in all. We called the group the "Eighteen"...The little luncheon round-table broke up after a year or two."[1:31] Brooks adds, "To the ten participants mentioned by Wright can be added six others, the second Dean brother...Alfred Granger, Arthur Heun, Myron Hunt, and Irving and Allen Pond." Brooks also includes this quote by Thomas E. Tallmadge: "An ideal artistic atmosphere pervaded the colony in the old lofts of Steinway Hall."[1:31]


1. Harold Allen Brooks, The Prairie School (New York: Norton & Company, 1996), 27-44, 56-63, 336-352.

2. James Herbert Kelley, ed. The Alumni Record of the University of Illinois. (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois, 1913): 696. Accessed February 20, 2019 through Google Books,

3. Abbot M. Dean, "Summary of Dean Family History". TS.

4. Dean, Arthur Randall, “Life of Arthur Randall Dean,” TS. (July 1933): 7pp. Copy in Doane College Archives.

5. “Doane College Notes: George R. Dean obituary,” The Vidette-Herald (December 18, 1919): 5:1-2. Copy in Doane College Archives.

6. “George Robinson Dean” My Jacob Family. Accessed October 10, 2019 via

7. Henry F. Withey & Elsie Rathburn Withey, “Dean, George S.” Biographical dictionary of American Architects (deceased) (Los Angeles, New Age Pub. Co.: c. 1956).

8. “Dean Family [RG4194.AM]” History Nebraska. Accessed October 15, 2019 via

9. “Old Grad Speaks Up,” The Crete News (July 30, 1931) Copy in Doane College Archives.

10. “Wholesome Advertising for Crete,” The Crete News (July 2, 1931): 1. Copy in Doane College Archives.

11. “Doane College News,” The Crete News (April 30, 1931). Copy in Doane College Archives.

12. “George Robinson Dean” Accessed October 15, 2019 via

13. “Streets & Directories” Accessed October 17, 2019 via

14., “Arthur Randall Dean” Obituary Index, 1800s-current [database on-line]. (Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2019.) Accessed October 24, 2019.

15. Janet Jeffries, “Dean Family Tree” (Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2019.) Accessed October 24, 2019 via

16. "Doane College News," The Crete Vidette (July 17, 1919): 8. Copy in Doane College Archives.

17. "Map of Doane College Campus, Crete, Nebraska.” (June 30, 1927; Revised January 20, 1928). Copy in Doane College Archives.

18. Janet Jeffries, “Smith Hall, Doane College: Historical Overview,” Broadsheet, September 2011. Copy in Doane College Archives.

19. Janet Jeffries, “Dean Memorial Pergola,” TS. (April, 2007) Copy in Doane College Archives.

20. George R. Dean, “Progress before Precedent,” The Brickbuilder 9:4 (April 1900), 91-97. Accessed January 19, 2019 via

21. Perry, Thomas Doane, ed. History of Doane College, 1872-1912. (1957: Doane College, Crete, Nebraska), 20-89.

22. “Obituary (George R. Dean),” American Architect 116:2 (1919), 821.

23. Dean, Frank W. “Pioneering in Nebraska, 1872-79: A Reminiscence,” Nebraska History 36:2 (June, 1956): 105-121.


We gratefully acknowledge Janet Jeffries, cultural historian and past archivist at Doane College, for sharing her extensive research on the Dean family for the Dean pages.

Page Citation

D. Murphy and Lydia Allen, “George Robinson Dean (1864-1919), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, November 26, 2019. Accessed, September 25, 2022.

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